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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: The Baller by Vi Keeland

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: The Baller by Vi KeelandThe Baller by Vi Keeland
Series: Down and Dirty Football,
Published by Self-Published on 18 January 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Unknown, Texas // Tampa, Florida // Miami, Florida // Unknown, Maryland

First Line(s): My boss was a world-class dick.

THE BALLER by Vi Keeland was one of those books that appeared on my radar when it seemed like everyone I knew was discussing it. Everywhere I turned there were people excited for this book and as I do love a good sportsing themed romance I decided to give it a try. In the end, I had kind of a love/hate relationship with THE BALLER because while I adored the banter of Delilah and Brody there were all these little things that just kept taking me out of the story. And that doesn’t even include the various sportsball things that they got wrong as I missed the bulk of those but I did hear about them from friends.

As I said, I adored Delilah and Brody and those two often had me cracking up. Their chemistry was off the charts and I loved watched them get their flirt on. I liked how they built up a bit of relationship first before jumping in the sack and felt that their story progression was realistic. Even with the crazy baggage the two of them were carrying. Because oy with the poodles did they each have some issues! And with those issues came all these cryptic references…and y’all know how I love those. Delilah’s though were ones that I felt with should have been dealt with a few years prior but we all deal with grief in different ways so I’ll give her a moderate pass but feel like therapy would have done wonders. Brody’s thing though…oy…that’s a horse of different color.

The Baller Quote

With Brody, I adored his relationship with Marlene and the sweet and caring side that we all knew was lurking underneath that cocky bastard. But what I didn’t like was Willow. Not so much her character but that we were suddenly (and oh so randomly) thrust into her POV mid-way through the book. It was jarring and I didn’t like. Her POVs didn’t add to the story. They didn’t make me feel any sort of sympathy for her and I just wanted them to go away. For all they did was to take me out of the story and I didn’t not like that.

THE BALLER was also filled with lots of little continuity issues and while I can sometimes ignore them in an ARC I can’t do that as well in a finished book. And the more they happened the more they took me out of the story. It became harder to just sit and bask in the goodness of Delilah and Brody when this Chinese Water Torture kept happening! Then there was that epilogue. Blergh. I won’t say much but if you’ve heard my rant on epilogues then know it holds true here. And no, I probably still haven’t learned my lesson to not read epilogues.

THE BALLER was my first book by Vi Keeland and while I’m not going to rush out to read her backlist I will read other things by her. While things weren’t perfect in THE BALLER I think that Keeland has promise and even with all the little things that bugged me her story still made my heart ache. I still became invested in the main story that she wrote about and for that she’ll be on my author to watch list.


IR - The Baller


Add The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton to Goodreads(Click here for my review.)

Add The Score by Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid KemmererThicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Kensington on 29 December 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Police or Firemen, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Place(s) Traveled To: Garretts Mill, Virginia // Crisfield, Maryland // Washington D.C

First Line(s): I hate this suit.

When I picked up THICKER THAN WATER by Brigid Kemmerer I was expecting a murder mystery. I wasn’t necessarily expecting an action filled book but I was expecting something a little more than what I got. For me, THICKER THAN WATER, while well written, was very slow. I liked the main characters of Thomas and Charlotte but oh my stars did I have issues with pretty much all the secondary characters! Charlotte’s family was off the hook crazy in some of their reactions and the fact that they could just fly off the handle and make snap judgments with no proof and get away with it bugged me so very much.

I also didn’t fully buy a romance between Charlotte and Thomas. There was no real spark between them in a romantic sense but I did buy them as friends. So it made her betrayal all the more shocking and upsetting as Thomas really only had one person in this entire town who believed in him. I can’t even imagine how hard life must have been for Thomas and I got why he couldn’t leave as he had no real options to do so. But his isolation and accusations made this story all the more heartbreaking to read.

Thicker Than Water Quote

Where THICKER THAN WATER totally falls off the rails for me was in the mystery. There really wasn’t anything to it and there wasn’t a ton of investigation into it either. The conclusion just also left me shaking my head as it just all came out of nowhere. Because what I didn’t know when I picked up THICKER THAN WATER was that there was a paranormal element to the book and it just made for a weird little story. The paranormal aspects only added confusion and clunkiness to this story and it just didn’t seem to fit. There was no explanation for it or when these kids had these powers. This lack of detail also contributed to my dissatisfaction with the ending of THICKER THAN WATER.

I liked THICKER THAN WATER well enough when I was reading it but I found this story easy to put down. And once it was down there was nothing driving me to pick it back up again. The words in THICKER THAN WATER were pretty enough but there wasn’t a whole ton of substance to them. This book was very light on details and explanations and it just left me feeling all meh about it. THICKER THAN WATER is also a tad bit open ended in its conclusion. While the main mystery is solved there are enough open threads that there could be more stories set in this world and these characters. If there are, I’m not entirely sure if they would be stories that I would pick up. I just didn’t like this one enough to really care on what happens next with this crew.


IR - Thicker Than Water

Add I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman to Goodreads.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: When the Stars Align by Jeanette Grey

Posted by Irish in 2.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: When the Stars Align by Jeanette GreyWhen the Stars Align by Jeanette Grey
Published by Forever on 01 September 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Place(s) Traveled To: Arecibo, Puerto Rico // Baltimore, Maryland // Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

First Line(s): You don’t ask, you don’t get.

I’ll admit it. I have double standards. We all do when you think about it and WHEN THE STARS ALIGN hits on one of mine. The heroine of WHEN THE STARS ALIGN, Jo, is one that really got on my nerves as she had a huge chip on her shoulder. And while I can sometimes put up with this more when its the hero it just tends to grate me the wrong way when its the female of the story. I don’t know why it just is. Perhaps because a male hero with a chip on his shoulder often comes across as more broody while female characters express this in more judgmental behaviors. And boy did Jo judge those around her throughout most of WHEN THE STARS ALIGN.

I had high hopes for WHEN THE STARS ALIGN because this was supposed to be a book about physics and romance. There was to be SCIENCE! Which if you know me is right up my alley as I am a scientist by training. So the lack of any real science was sad making. It also grated that this was a physics based internship at the Arecibo Observatory and there were people in the program that had nothing to do with physics or astronomy that just wouldn’t happen in the real world at least not at such a prestigious internship where so many capable applicants apply.

When the Stars Align Quote

The world building of WHEN THE STARS ALIGN could have also been better. Here we are in this beautiful location and we don’t really get a chance to see or experience it. The most we learn is that its hot. Well, there is that one scene where they go swimming but that scene bothered me in that Jo, a girl who can’t swim, managed to dive and do all these things while in a life preserver that just aren’t realistically possible.

For me, this book was slow and overly drawn out. I didn’t really buy the relationship between Jo and Adam. Adam was a genuinely nice guy, though a little bit of a doormat at times, and Jo was just mean and hostile. It was hard for me to get into the story and I only finished it because I was co-reading it with some friends. But the frustration levels were high and I thought of DNFing this one several times. In the end WHERE THE STARS ALIGN was not a book for me but it has good ratings on Goodreads so don’t take my word on it. =)

irishdarkblue IR - When the Stars Align

Add Catching Liam by Gennifer Albin to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The One & Only by Viv Daniels to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt: Hard as Steel by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Hard as Steel - Review & Excerpt Tour - banner


I’m excited to be able to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Laura Kaye’s HARD AS STEEL!! HARD AS STEEL is a Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover Series Novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. It is due to be released on September 22, 2015! Grab your copy of this sexy novella today!


Hard as Steel

Amazon eBook ** Amazon Paperback


During one of the books in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series we learn that one of Jeremy’s employees had her apartment broken into by the big bad trying to take down our fearless warriors. In the book, we learn that another employee Ike Young (who is also a member of the Raven Riders who are assisting in the big take down) takes Jess out of town for her protection. Hard as Steel tells their story of when they are away and acts as a bridge between Kaye’s two series, Hard Ink and Raven Riders. Its a quick read and can be read in about an hour or so and I was really looking forward to it. However, I ended up being disappointed as there wasn’t much substance to it. Especially since for most of the novella the two main characters were sick. Talk about unsexy!

Then when they were both well they went at it like rabbits and it was just too much. I’m no prude but it just didn’t fit with the story. Most of the book was spent with Ike trying to push Jess away and then all of a sudden you blink and they are declaring their love and then its the non-stop sex. Or maybe the declaration comes during a break…it all ends up as a blur if I’m honest. Hard as Steel had a slow start and then a rushed finished and like the previous novellas in the Hard Ink series really doesn’t add anything to the story. We don’t really learn anything new about the Raven Riders nor is there any plot development to the Hard Ink series. Its a story that just kind of hangs there in between with no real purpose. As an introduction to Laura Kaye’s writing this one might be good but I just expected something a little more from it.



I’m thrilled to be here celebrating the release of my 21st book, HARD AS STEEL! After a midnight break-in at her apartment, close friends and Hard Ink Tattoo co-workers Ike Young and Jessica Jakes are forced into hiding—and forced to confront the feelings they’ve always denied for one another. I have always adored friends-to-lovers and forced proximity stories, and HARD AS STEEL delivers that and more, including a taste of both my award-winning and best-selling Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series! Check out this excerpt:

“Any better?” Ike asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.

Jess peered up at him. “A little.”

His eyes narrowed. “You’re still cold now, aren’t you?”

She shivered and pulled the cover tighter around her shoulder. “Yeah.”

“Fuck.” Ike scrubbed a hand over his bald head and mumbled something she couldn’t quite make out. “Maybe I shouldn’t have put you in the tub after all.”

“I think it was the right thing, Ike. I was so out of it. It is better than it was before.” She worked at a small smile. No matter how bad she felt, the last thing she wanted was to make him feel bad given everything he was doing for her. As if he hadn’t already gone out of his way in giving her a place of refuge and his personal protection for as long as she needed it, now he had to play freaking nursemaid to a sicky. Which, on top of everything, was super attractive.

The only upside to that ice-cold bath was that Ike had gotten wet and tossed his shirt, and Jess thought she might be willing to be sick more often if it meant getting to see him shirtless. Because, holy bad-ass tattooed biker on a stick, he was so freaking hot. Cut muscles, ink everywhere, two insanely delicious indents low on his waist. And scars Jess had never seen before and had no idea how Ike had gotten.

All that goodness and Jess couldn’t even see the big Ravens tat that she knew covered Ike’s broad back. But she’d seen it before, back at Hard Ink when Jeremy occasionally did a new piece for Ike. She’d seen it enough to know that she’d love to have a good reason to dig her fingers into that tat…

Oh, for fuck’s sake, even sick she couldn’t stop fantasizing about what it would be like to be with Ike. Just once.


Her gaze snapped to his eyes. “Huh?” Hopefully the warmth crawling up her cheeks would pass for a fevered flush. Because she was so busted.

“I, uh, asked if you thought it would help if I got in with you.” The expression he wore said he was dubious about the idea.

And as much as Jess loved the idea, she didn’t want him doing anything with her that he didn’t really want to do. “That’s okay. Why don’t you go get some sleep now? It’s gotta be almost morning.”

He looked at her for a long moment, and then he tapped his hand against her arm. “Scoot over.”


“Damnit, scoot your scrawny ass over already.” He cocked an eyebrow, humor sliding into his eyes.

“Well, I’ll scoot over,” she said as she made herself move. “But you and I both know there ain’t anything scrawny about my ass.”

“Jessica?” Ike said as he got in next to her wearing only his jeans.

“Yeah?” The minute he was down, she nearly dove into the crook of his body, her forehead against his neck, her breasts against his ribs, her bare legs intertwined with his denim-clad ones. She wasn’t sure where to put her hand, because the not-sick part of her brain wanted to touch him everywhere right now oh my god I’m in bed with Ike! But she settled for resting it on his chest, the hair on his pecs ticklish against her fingers.

“Shut up and go to sleep.” He took the edge off the words by clasping her hand in his and pressing it more firmly to his skin.

“Be nice to me. I’m sick,” she said, burrowing in further.

Ike wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her tighter against him. God, he felt good, warm and hard and strong. “Woman,” he said, his voice full of gravel. “This is me being nice.”

Tour Stops

Laura Kaye’s HARD AS STEEL – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

September 23rd

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

What I’m Reading – Review & Excerpt

Smut Book Junkie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review

JB’s Book Obsession – Excerpt

Love Affair with an e-Reader – Review

Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt

September 24th

Coffee-Books-Life Blog – Review & Excerpt

East Coast Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

Obsessive Reading Disorder – Review & Excerpt

Blushing Reads – Review & Excerpt

Krista’s Dust Jacket – Review & Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt

Kelsey’s Corner Time – Review & Excerpt

Wicked Reads – Review & Excerpt

A little fiction of every flavour – Review & Excerpt

Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust – Review & Excerpt

September 25th

Naughty Book Eden – Excerpt

Reviews by Tammy and Kim – Review & Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

mignonmykel : reviews – Review & Excerpt

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Hot Guys in Books – Review & Excerpt

JordansBookReviews – Excerpt

Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt

September 26th

Little Read Riding Hood – Review & Excerpt

I Heart YA Books – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess – Review & Excerpt

A Tasty Read Book Reviews – Review

Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt

Those Crazy Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

September 27th

Ramblings From This
– Review

Connected by Books – Excerpt

Ripe For Reader – Review

Inner Goddess – Review & Excerpt

Cocktails and Books – Excerpt

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions – Excerpt

Ticket To Anywhere – Review & Excerpt

My Favorite Things – Review

September 28th

MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It – Review

Echoing Books – Review & Excerpt

Book Sojourner – Review & Excerpt

Edible Pages Book Blog – Review

Dark Faerie Tales – Review & Excerpt

The Book Reading Gals – Review & Excerpt

My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Readers – Review

Bewitching bibliophile – Review

September 29th

Obsessed With Myshelf – Review & Excerpt

Sultry, Steamy Reading – Review & Excerpt

Love Affair With Fiction – Excerpt

Feeling Fictional – Review

Alleskelle Blogs – Review & Excerpt

Becky’s Book Bytes – Review & Excerpt

Teatime and Books – Excerpt

September 30th – Review & Excerpt

The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review

Typical Distractions – Review & Excerpt

Booklover Sue – Excerpt

Renee Entress’s Blog – Review & Excerpt

The book obsessed momma – Review

Always YA at Heart – Review & Excerpt

We stole your book boyfriend – Review & Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

October 1st

Books Need TLC – Review

The Book Junkie – Review

Bitten By Love – Excerpt

Sweet Reads: You’re In For A Treat – Review & Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review

Viviana, Enchantress of Books – Review

Confessions of a Bookfreak – Review & Excerpt

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

October 2nd

Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt

Cupcakes and Vodka Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Grownupfangirl – Excerpt

My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt

Talking Books Blog – Review & Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt

Once Untold – Review & Excerpt

G & T Indie Café – Excerpt

Brooklynn Gibbs – Excerpt


Fashinable muscular man with tattooes on grey background



About HARD AS STEEL: A Hard Ink/Raven Riders Crossover Novella

After identifying her employer’s dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn’t make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.

Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he’s ever known, one he’s purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike’s not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.


Hard As Steel - Tour Teaser 2




Author PhotoAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.




Website | Facebook |Twitter | Newsletter SignUp | HARD AS STEEL on Goodreads


Hard As Steel - Available Now



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Make it Count by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Make it Count by Megan EricksonMake it Count by Megan Erickson
Series: Bowler University,
Published by William Morrow on 03 June 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Also by this author: Trust the Focus, Focus On Me, Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Out of Frame, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Bowler, Maryland // Cross keys, Maryland

First Line(s): Kat chewed on her pen and studied her tutor’s bent head.

MAKE IT COUNT by Megan Erickson is the first book in her new adult series series set at the fictional Bowler University. The story alternates between Kat the stereotypical beautiful girl who isn’t considered to be the smartest by all those around her. She dates a lot and goes through a lot of tutors and just seems to have trouble settling on something. Though at the start of MAKE IT COUNT she does have a steady boyfriend, Max although he’s a bit of an ass throughout the entire book. He doesn’t treat Kat the best and I don’t know why she puts up with it except that she does have poor self esteem and has been conditioned to be pretty and not smart. That’s where Alec comes in. Alec is Max’s roommate, best friend, and math geek. He becomes Kat’s new tutor and the two of them start to connect.

This is where a gray line begins to form in MAKE IT COUNT and although Kat and Alec have an attraction and become closer they don’t cross the line until after Kat and Max break up. Though its a very fine line that they walk until then. But you know me, I am not a fan of books with cheating or love triangles and I can honestly say there is no cheating in MAKE IT COUNT. That’s not to say that MAKE IT COUNT doesn’t have its frustrations. Kat is particularly frustrating because I find it hard that she made it as far as she did in life without people learning a certain thing about her. Though at the same time you do have to admire how far she’s come despite all the difficulties and struggles she’s had to deal with.

Make it Count Quote

MAKE IT COUNT was filled with stereotypes and the dreaded…oh so dreaded lack of communication. I know that there needs to be drama and conflict in a novel but MAKE IT COUNT had enough of that without adding in obtuse characters who refuse to speak to each other. And like many a book the ending of this one felt a little rushed. I am also concerned with the fact that Max is supposed to be the hero of the second book in this series, MAKE IT RIGHT (goodreads), because he’s just such an absolute ass throughout this book and he’s a terrible friend to Alec. Though I also thought that Jimmy and Silas were irredeemable characters and they have both become two of my favorite romantic heroes.

While MAKE IT COUNT isn’t my favorite new adult novel it is a quick read and filled with that romantic tension that Megan Erickson is so good at. Her books are always very readable and easy to get lost within its pages They are quick reads and a fun way to waste a few hours without having to think too much. MAKE IT COUNT is a great book to toss in your beach bag as you spend your day by the sea. And while I am on the fence about MAKE IT RIGHT I will probably read it at some point because I do usually enjoy a Megan Erickson book.


IR - Make it Count


Add The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Deal by Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hard to Let Go by Laura KayeHard to Let Go by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink,
Also in this series: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to be Good, Hard as Steel
Published by Avon on 30 June 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, War & Military
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Also by this author: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to be Good, Hard as Steel

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland

First Line(s): The warehouse was an abandoned shell.

Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye is the final book in her crazy pants Hard Ink series and features Beckett Murda and Kat Rixey who we first meet briefly in the previous book, Hard to Come By (my review). As with the previous full length novel, Hard to Let Go takes place in about a weeks time and so there is a lot of suspension of belief to the story given that the whole series ARC takes place in around a months time. Add to these complexities the fact that Kat is the sister of Murda’s very good friend and commander who is fighting some demons of her own because crazy motorcycle gang bangers were not enough to this whole storyline. Not to mention the set up for Kaye’s next series which will feature the good motorcycle gang, the Raven Riders (Goodreads link). Which I will probably read because sometimes you just need a little crazy pants action in the books you read.

As with most of the couples, Kat and Beckett have an instant attraction but they try to hide it by being all gruff and standoffish with each other. Partly because of Kat’s brother and partly because they are dealing with gangs that shoot rocket launchers at them. (Rocket launchers!! Seriously, I can’t get over that from Hard to Come By). There is also continuing investigation into the overall story ARC which just never really held up in this final installment in the series. The previous books were all leading up to this big crazy reveal but in the end it just sort of lost steam and fizzled out. I expected something more, something flashier and so was disappointed in the end. Not to mention that Hard to Let Go seemed to be more hurry up and wait than any of the previous books so it was a slower read than the others.

Baltimore, MD -- The glow of the city lights begin to equalize after the sun sets in a view from the top of the Domino Sugars refinery, above the inner harbor Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) [] (_1D34072.JPG)] COPYBLOCK: I had no time to waste. Knowing how fast the sun actually sets, I quickly assessed what angles might reveal good moments in time lapse, bearing in mind to also look for telling images of the skyline from the unusual perspective of being at the base of the Domino Sugars sign.  With two Nikon cameras, one GoPro, and a Lumix FZ200 in tow, I set three of the cameras to capture by intervalometer, at 2-3 seconds per frame. The FZ200 churned out HD video clips, but the files were later compressed in post at about 1000x live speed. In all, there were 13 different angles captured, with cameras being moved about on the roof an behind the steel frame of the neon sign, with little time to enjoy being in a place where few people gain access. My iPhone 4s recorded panoramic images, capturing a 180-degree image from the glowing neon icon to the inner harbor skyline, and then back from the cityscape to the sign as the exposure balanced between light source and sky at dusk. Using the two images created an almost seamless turn-around to show how the scene looked if spinning clockwise, capping off the shoot.

Hard to Let Go also added all these extra complexities to the who reason behind the units framing and dishonorable discharge that even with all the belief suspension that I’d done previously (I mean rocket launchers…in Baltimore!!) was just sort of tossed out the window. I rolled my eyes a lot in this book, not that I didn’t with the others, but there was a lot more of me mumbling “seriously?!” as I turned the pages in the story. Then there was the whole subplot of Kat’s that was just a distraction and diverted much needed words and attention for the big bad rocket launcher using baddies. Which made for a rushed and unsatisfying ending.

Hard to Let Go isn’t a book that I’d recommend to everyone as its not really a great story. Its rushed and unrealistic but there is something addictive about it all the same. The sex scenes are hot, though not as numerous as in some romance books, but the akward dialogue moments often ruin the moment. With Hard to Let Go I found it hard to connect with Kat and Murda and didn’t really care either way if they got together in the end out not. It just seemed a bit like more of the same rushed romance that we’d seen in the three other books of this novel. All the love interests all met and fell head over heels in a matter of days all while under intense outside pressures that its hard to imagine them lasting for any length of time. I definitely prefer the slow build romance over what Kaye brought to the table with her Hard Ink series and yet I was compelled to read every book. This series will never be a favorite and I will probably never re-read it but the thought of rocket launchers going off in Baltimore will always make me giggle. And sometimes that’s all you need in a book.




IR - Hard as it Gets


Add Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mini Review: Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Hard to Be Good by Laura KayeHard to be Good by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink,
Also in this series: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel
Published by Avon on 14 April 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 160
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Also by this author: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland

First Line(s): Jeremy Rixey stood in front of the ruins of half of the warehouse building he owned in east Baltimore – his home for the past four years, and wondered what the hell had happened to his life.

Hard to be Good is a short novella in Laura Kaye’s crazy pants Hard Ink series and it tells the story of Charlie and Jeremy. Charlie is Becca’s brother and Jeremy is Nick’s, both who had their story told in the first book in the series, Hard as it Gets (my review)Hard to be Good picks up hours after the events in Hard to Come By (my review) end and nothing in this story really adds to the over crazy pants story arc. This is just a short little vignette that brings Charlie and Jeremy together as a couple which is something that has been in the works since the beginning. These two have danced around each other as secondary characters in the other books and it was nice to get into their heads for a bit.

Both of these characters made my heart ache as they struggled with their feelings unsure of where the other stood. Though, I felt that this story lacked depth and seemed to focus on the sexy times more so than the emotional bonding moments that make you really cheer for a couple to get together. Not that I didn’t want Charlie and Jeremy to find their happily ever after because I did. I’ve been hoping since they first met that they would fall in love. And in many ways Charlie and Jeremy have a longer courtship than any other couple in the series even if theirs is one of the shorter stories.

Hard to be Good is a quick read and can be skipped if you just want to dive back into this whole crazy world that Laura Kaye has created. I for one though did enjoy the little break from the crazy times and enjoyed this installment in the series.


Hard to be Good Quote



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Hard to Come By by Laura Kaye

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Hard to Come By by Laura KayeHard to Come By by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink,
Also in this series: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to be Good, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel
Published by Avon on 25 November 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, War & Military
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Also by this author: Hard As It Gets, Hard As You Can, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to be Good, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland // Annapolis

First Line(s): Derek DiMarzio was going bat-shit crazy.

Hard to Come By is the third book in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series about a group of 5 ex-military men and the crazy pants mob and drug war that they find themselves in after being framed and dishonorably discharged. Hard to Come By picks up almost immediately after the previous book ends and is a direct continuation of the story even though the POVs are different. This is definitely a series that you need to read in order or be totally lost at what is happening. Because a lot happens in each book. Seriously, this series is totally crazy pants with its over the top story lines but its also oddly addicting and I find myself unable to put the books down once I pick them up.

A couple of things that have started to grate on my nerves with this series is the repetitiveness and the cheesy dialogue. I get that there are times when a general recap of events or who people are is needed and if its a one and done I’m good. But it seemed like every time a certain character was talked about Kaye went into his whole backstory and what happened in previous books and it was just overkill. The same was done with details that were just talked about a few chapters before or even a few paragraphs above. It just made me sigh and seemed like a waste of words. Words that could have been better used to move the overall story arc along. Because there is a lot of detail in this crazy pants story and each new book in the series just seems to add more crazy instead of less.

Hard to Come By Quote

Like in Hard to Come By there is a rocket launcher used against them. Let’s pause a moment to wrap our brains around that. A rocket launcher. A rocket launcher used in downtown Baltimore. Seriously. I can not make this stuff up! And while this whole series is crazy and over the top it all somehow works. Much like the Die Hard movies work even as Bruce Willis is using a car to take out a helicopter. Hard to Come By is filled with this crazy action sequences that would do any action movie proud. Yes its a bit ridiculous but at the same time the escape from reality can be a nice break.

Although, I do kind of wish that more time was given between moving from one event to the next. From the start of the series in Hard As it Gets (my review) to this book its been about 2 weeks. And by the end of Hard to Come By another week has gone by. So there is a lot going on in a very short amount of time which is fine for the overall story arc but its pushing things a bit with the romance portion of the story. Each of these characters has pretty much met and fallen in love with their significant other in the span of a week. In the case of Marz and Emilie its more like 3 days, not even as they mostly meet over dinner before things go postal. All in all though, crazy pants storyline aside this is a fun series and worth it as long as you suspend much belief and just want to be entertained.


IR - Hard as it Gets

Add Hard as it Gets  (Hard Ink, Book 1) by Laura Kaye to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review2 Comments

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew QuickSilver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Narrator: Ray Porter
Published by Blackstone Audio on 09 October 2008
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Length: 7 hours 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland // Collingswood, New Jersey // Voorhees, New Jersey // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): I don’t have to look up to know that Mom is making another surprise visit.

I first became interested in Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick when I learned that the 2012 film of the same name was based on a book. The movie looked interesting enough and I had wanted to read the book before seeing it as that is my preference when it comes to movies based on books. But as sometimes happens life got in the way and the movie and book faded from my mind until I stumbled across it on Netflix. Needing a new audiobook around that time I decided to listen to this one and then watch the movie. The first thing that grabbed me with this audiobook was the narrator, Ray Porter. I just loved his voice and how he became Pat Peoples. I loved his energy and the humor he brought to this story as well as all the various other emotions that Pat goes through over the course of the book. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, narrators really make or break and audio and Ray Porter definitely makes this one.

That said, I will admit that if I’d read this one in print there were sections of the book that I would have skipped. Not the main story but all the football chants that filled this book. These things are easy to glance over in print but with an audio you just have to sit back and suffer through them. Hoping against hope with each one that it will be the last. And then being disappointed when it isn’t because Pat Peoples, and most of the people that he knows, are obsessed with Eagles football and they spend a lot of time watching football, talking football, and going to football games. Which for this, non-sportsing person, was akin to mild torture. But as Pat is only just reclaiming his life from being in a mental health facility I can accept that those around him want to keep things simple as he eases back into the real world.

Silver Linings Playbook Quote

Then Pat meets Tiffany, who is also dealing with mental health issues, and the two form a strange bond. Pat wants to become this ideal man to win back his ex-wife and Tiffany wants to win this upcoming dance competition. Tiffany convinces Pat that she’ll help him with Nikki if he gives up football (in all forms) and trains for the competition with her. At first, I was a bit happy with this as “yay no more sportsing talk!” but then the more I thought about it and the more this section of the book progressed I liked it less and less. Despite all of Pat’s flaws, I liked him. Deep down he was  a sweet guy who was just dealing with a lot of stuff. Tiffany, on the other hand, was such a hard personality to like. She was mean and controlling and I just could not connect with her character. I just wasn’t a fan and never felt any chemistry between Pat and Tiffany which made this part of the book harder to get through as I wasn’t engaged.

Overall, I liked Silver Linings Playbook, and I enjoyed Pat’s outlook on life. I liked that he was always searching for that silver lining though the path he took may not have always been the best one. I thought the book was realistic and well written and I am interested to see how it plays out on film. I started it while on vacation last October but the connection was bad and watching on a laptop isn’t always the most ideal so I still need to sit down with this one. Silver Linings Playbook is definitely not for everyone but it wasn’t a bad read and if you at all curious about it then you should probably give it a read.





IR - Silver Linings Playbook

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie ThorneThe Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Published by Dial on 17 March 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble

Place(s) Traveled To: James Island, South Carolina // Maryland // Virginia // Valley Forge, Pennsylvania // Chicago, Illinois // Oklahoma // Ohio // Texas // Massachusetts // Maine // Los Angeles, California // New York, New York// Vermont // St Louis, Missouri // Kansas // New Jersey

First Line(s): The moment my horrible yearbook photo first appeared on millions of televisions, sending jaws dropping, phones ringing, and joggers tumbling off their treadmills across America, I was in the middle of my AP US history final.

When I first heard about Jenn Marie Thorne’s debut novel, The Wrong Side of Right, I though that it sounded like a really cute and entertaining read. I was excited for it and when I received a copy for review I pretty much dropped everything in order to read it. Even with the subject, the death of Kate’s mom and finding out who her father was, I was expecting a light and fluffy read. Something that would make me smile one moment and my heart ache the next as Kate dealt with her new family and new romance. However, The Wrong Side of Right turned out to be a lot more serious than I thought and those light and fluffy moments were few and far between.

Kate had to deal with a lot in this book, not just a new family but a whole new world. She was outed as a Senator’s daughter and not just any Senator but one who was running for President. This puts her immediately into the spotlight as she’s taken away from the life she’d been making for herself since her mom died. She becomes a political thing and is told how to stand, where to stand, what to wear and how to act. Her life is no longer her own and there is no one she can talk to about it and that broke my heart. Kate had no advocate and no support system in a world where she desperately needed one because no one was looking out for her.

Wrong Side of Right Quote

That is until she meets Andy and they are able to bond over their fathers and the crazy, jaded politicial life that they both find themselves in. I really liked the romance between Andy and Kate as it was real and genuine and the two had some good chemistry. I just wish that there was more of it. There was so little in the book that I think this story suffered a bit as a result. I get why Andy couldn’t play a bigger role based on who he was but it would have softened the deeper tones of The Wrong Side of Right and made it more relateable. I also really detested Kate’s father and Andy would have made a good distraction from that.

Kate’s father, when he is there, is never really there. He’s always so focused on the campaign and what Kate can do for him. If she messes up in anyway and he loses points then he allows his team to treat her like crap all while ignoring her. Even when Kate’s presence is helping him he pretty much ignores her. And that just bothered me so much. Not only that but Kate seemed so passive throughout the story and I just wanted to shake her and tell her to pitch a fit and cause a fuss and just BE A TEENAGER! I get that she’s been through a lot and dealing with a political campaign couldn’t be easy but she was just so accepting and showed so little life that teenage me totally got her rage on for Kate’s behalf.

Despite all my various issues with The Wrong Side of Right, I did enjoy the overall story. It was an interesting looking into a world that I know I want no part of, one lived in the public eye where ever move is watched and commented on. The stress of that would be too much for me but Kate does manage to navigate its waters. I did like that she showed some strength and growth by the end and I liked her stepmother and siblings who also showed change and growth. I never did like her father and thought that he changed very little, if at all, and the end was a bit meh for my liking. All in all though a decent debut novel and Thorne will be on my authors to watch list for future reads.


IR - Wrong Side of Right

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